lxde install

My Debian Wheezy install with the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment
updated Oct 2013

 Here're my notes for Wheezy LXDE install 
I went through all these "apt-get install" lines while the connection was fast and came back to some of the set-up tweaks while apt ticked over.  
The first apt-get install line is similar to my Debian Wheezy Xfce install and generally the install process is the same, but without all of the Xfce to set up... Openbox instead!

Comparing it with Xfce, I noticed immediately the difference in looks, as Lxde is much simpler (for example, with Lxde there's only slight highlight of panel buttons when hovered, no square button).  But there are enough items to add to panels (such as temperature meter, desktop pager -aka workspaces, and any app can be added into an Application Launch Bar).  I used Lxde for quite a long while (before sticking with just Openbox alone), because it enabled me to do what I need to do, with some speed.  And of course it makes for a good system to get people started on, especially beginner PC users, as it's simple, configurable and above all it doesn't hang about.  (Only a few times I've lost icons on the top panel due to a memory jam from video encoding or something).

I made the notes on this page after using the Internet-based install CD.  This installs a basic Debian system with no desktop manager or software packages nd needs to connect to the internet to retrieve some packages -but it is possible to install basic sydtem with no internet connection..

Download the Debian 7.0 Wheezy installer CD from here (under "Small CDs") http://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst

Debian Jessie (Testing) from here (under "Netinst") http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/

The new Debian testing will be in early stages for a while and therefore it is really recommended for beginners and production machines to stay with the stable release wheezy.  See this thread http://forums.debian.net...
Upgrading to Testing later on is also possible - see my page upgrade debian

Alternatively, download a Debian Live CD with LXDE..... 

Or, for more advanced users who already have a Linux OS to work from, make your own Debian Live CD with Live Helper -see my Remote install page.

Then put the ISO onto a usb stick with a few easy steps! see my usbinstaller page

This youtube vid shows the netinstaller in action http://www.youtube.com...

The install 
  • I got wireless set up during install from driver firmware files on my usb stick -but recently it didn't work and I copied the firmware files to /usr/lib/firmware after install.  If the firmware is not to be had, like with a new machine, you will need to detect and install firmware See my Xfce Install page for more details about wireless firmware, getting partitions ready, and the install (#1-6).
  • In the disk partitions (select manual) I made / and /home mount points on the right partitions (already had a swap partition for other OS).
  • Skipped installing GRUB and rebooted into my Debian Xfce and used Grub Customizer (from other Debian install) to probe for the new Debian OS and add it (with "write to MBR"). But if this install was the first Linux system on the box then I'd install GRUB.  
  • If GRUB install fails (like with a Live Build CD) and there's no other Linux OS on the machine then there are ways to fix GRUB -see my GRUB page!

1. Sources list
you can check the apt sources list file after installing the base system, so that it's ready for downloading packages to install.
on reboot, login with 'root' and the root or administrative password that you made during the Netinstall CD process, then enter 
nano /etc/apt/sources.list
(and hit Enter at end)

deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main non-free
write to file by Ctrl-O Enter and Ctrl-X

Or you can use "http.debian.net" which will retrieve from your most local mirror:
deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy main non-free

also add the multimedia repository 
nano /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org testing main non-free

then as root
apt-get update
apt-get install deb-multimedia-keyring && apt-get update

My sources list looks like so now

deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy main contrib non-free
deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy main contrib non-free

#deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ 
wheezy main contrib non-free
#deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-updates main contrib non-free
#deb-src http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-updates main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main contrib non-free

deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org 
wheezy main non-free

2. No recommends file
still as root, type
nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/norecommends
fill the file with
Install-Recommends "false";
Install-Suggests "false";
nano /etc/apt/apt.conf
APT::Install-Recommends "0";
APT::Install-Suggests "0";
and save it with Ctrl-X, y and Enter

Also, knock out the downloading of language packs with every apt-get update:
nano /etc/apt/apt.conf

Acquire {
           Languages "none";

3. Install the desktop
If you like, you can make some files with package lists (e.g. desktop, apps, build) which you can save to a USB stick.  In the shell you mount the stick and cd to the dir with those files you made.  then run sudo apt-get install $(< desktop) etc.

as root, type
apt-get install --no-install-recommends xorg lxde lightdm lxtask xfce4-power-manager pm-utils hdparm cpufrequtils alsa-utils network-manager-gnome chromium-browser tango-icon-theme openbox-themes firestarter dmz-cursor-theme xcursor-themes moblin-cursor-theme rxvt-unicode

lightdm prefered over xdm, and gdm3 comes with a 40mb gnome dependency bloat.
It's possible to run openbox alone without installing the lxde package (but just the parts of it you might need) and without even a Display Manager (login screen etc), see my page, plain openbox
I took out synaptic apt-xapian-index gdebi as I hardly need them.
of course, iceweasel would be less memory-intensive than chromium

I go without lxde and lightdm now, and add here:
openbox lxpanel lxtask leafpad
Warning! this is not perhaps a good idea for beginner Debian users. Installing LXDE will be more straightforward. I'm still having trouble mounting usb devices without lxde.

carry on installing from the shell, or if reboot now, edit interfaces file before reboot to enable wireless networking in openbox 
nano /etc/network/interfaces -see below

4. Install thunar
from wheezy repository (1.2): apt-get install thunar
from testing (1.6): apt-get -t testing install thunar

apt-get install thunar-volman thunar-archive-plugin tumbler tumbler-plugins-extra zip unzip bzip2 p7zip-full

get ready for bluetooth, ntfs partitions r/w, bash, app java and browser java
apt-get install bluetooth blueman ntfs-3g command-not-found bash-completion xdg-user-dirs 
openjdk-6-jre icedtea6-plugin

some extras
apt-get install expect locate less git

5. the software build dependencies (optional)

apt-get install --no-install-recommends build-essential intltool pkg-config libalglib-dev libglib2.0-dev libdbus-1-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libx11-dev libgtk2.0-dev libwnck-dev x11-xserver-utils libgudev-1.0-dev libgtkmm-2.4-dev libssl-dev libnotify-dev gcc make cmake checkinstall

Note: bear in mind that the build dependencies will need updating all the time, whenever you have to build from source, to enable compiling without meeting dependency problems.

6. Setup the sudoers and fstab files
Now's the time to add user to sudoer and setup fstab (see XFCE Install page for detailed how-to #12) if you have time..

add under the root line
username        ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

7. Wireless configure
If you don't have the wireless firmware installed yet, see how to identify and install the correct driver at top of XFCE Install page
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
# all lines except for 
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
then Ctrl-O Enter Ctrl-X to save/close file
sudo /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

sudo adduser <user> netdev

run firestarter to start it and set it up to start on dial-up or at boot-up, enable DHCP

Check that your user is in the audio group with groups <user>
and add to audio group if not added with sudo adduser <user> audio (then reboot)

While adding user to groups, I also need dialout plugdev lpadmin admin clamav fuse
to add user to a new group:
sudo groupadd <group>
sudo useradd <user> <group>

8. software as in Step2
to build ffmpeg, melt, kdenlive and digikam from source, follow the notes on Wheezy Step2 page and skip these lines

apt-get install ffmpeg x264 libmp3lame0 libquicktime2

apt-get install kdenlive frei0r-plugins dvgrab recordmydesktop dvdauthor genisoimage handbrake-gtk avidemux bombono-dvd 

9. software as in Step3/Step4
my pick
apt-get install mplayer gnome-mplayer mencoder vlc audacious gimp pinta imagemagick k3b audacious xpdf x11-tools xfce4-notes-plugin gstreamer-0.10 clipit pidgin uget pyrenamer easytag catfish gdmap baobab gparted testdisk unetbootin qshutdown ksnapshot kcharselect luckybackup feh cheese meld regexxer bleachbit gnome-color-chooser systemsettings htop etherape transmission yelp libk3b6-extracodecs normalize-audio rkhunter chkrootkit 

apt-get install lame ardour audacity xiphos fonts-sil-ezra gpsbabel gpsbabel-gui

no longer!
geeqie xfe sound-juicer gvfs-backends k9copy dvdrip digikam marble kipi-plugins 

Which leaves ffmpeg, Kdenlive, Libre Office, Google Earth, ClamTK, XnViewMP, Ranger, compton, UNetbootin, Multisystem, Grub Customizer, obmenu, Garmin gps hand-held set-up, Viking, Skype, Refractasnapshot......to set up.

10. Last set up things
  • power options in Xfce-power-manager
  • edit ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs to change which dir's get the "Documents", "Music", "Video" icons
  • edit your ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file with the line gtk-can-change-accels=1 so that the shortcut keys on menus in GTK windows can be changed just by hovering them and pressing new.
  • If you install Synaptic and you want a launcher: copy the .desktop file from /usr/share/app's to ~/.local/share/applications/ and change "Exec=synaptic" to: Exec=gksu /usr/sbin/synaptic, or use the command in openbox menu (see configuring lxde)
    For gparted, use gksu /usr/sbin/gparted

Overview of the install
it looks like this for net install cd..
1. Netinstall CD
2. Restart and login to root
3. add norecommends file
4. install the desktop:
apt-get install xorg lxde lightdm lxtask xfce4-power-manager pm-utils hdparm cpufrequtils alsa-utils alsamixergui network-manager-gnome chromium-browser tango-icon-theme openbox-themes firestarter xcursor-themes moblin-cursor-theme rxvt-unicode

add if you like: synaptic apt-xapian-index gdebi dmz-cursor-theme 

I go without lxde and lightdm now, and add here:
openbox lxpanel lxtask leafpad

5. for my full programme suite:
apt-get install zip unzip bzip2 p7zip-full xdg-user-dirs bluetooth blueman ntfs-3g blktool command-not-found bash-completion openjdk-6-jre icedtea6-plugin mplayer gnome-mplayer mencoder vlc audacious k3b libk3b6-extracodecs normalize-audio audacious gimp pinta imagemagick jhead gstreamer-0.10 xpdf x11-tools clipit pidgin uget pyrenamer easytag catfish xfce4-notes-plugin gdmap baobab gparted testdisk unetbootin qshutdown ksnapshot kcharselect luckybackup feh cheese meld regexxer bleachbit htop etherape transmission yelp lame ardour audacity xiphos fonts-sil-ezra gpsbabel gpsbabel-gui gtk2-engines gtk2-engines-xfce gnome-color-chooser systemsettings rkhunter chkrootkit

no longer with me:
thunar thunar-volman thunar-archive-plugin tumbler tumbler-plugins-extra k9copy dvdrip xfe sound-juicer gvfs-backends gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-cleanice gtk2-engines-aurora digikam kipi-plugins marble

Just add/remove what you like to/from this.

I install ffmpeg and x264 from source before kdenlive or other video editors -although Kdenlive installs ffmpeg from repositories anyhow.  If video editing is not a priority then include these in the apt-get above:
ffmpeg x264 kdenlive frei0r-plugins dvgrab recordmydesktop dvdauthor genisoimage 

and these now or after the ffmpeg from source
handbrake-gtk bombono-dvd  

6. build dependencies (as above) and some extras:
apt-get install expect locate less git 

with a fast connection you can get this done in an hour, but then setting up takes time.
You can always cancel apt downloading of packages and resume it later on, just use Ctrl-C to cancel.  Press up arrow and Enter in the terminal to hit the same apt-get command again and apt will continue with downloading.

7. add user to sudoer file, setup fstab and configure wireless
8. boot into the system and..set up fstab and firestarter

Polkit error message on start-up
After a fresh install this May '13 I had this report pop up on start-up:
GDBus.Error:org.freedesktop.PolicyKit1.Error.Failed: An authentication agent already exists for the given subject
which is the gnome polkit trying to run when LXDE has its own polkit running already.
So we fix this with editing the polkit .desktop file in autostart, like so:
sudo leafpad /etc/xdg/autostart/polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1.desktop
and add this line to the end, save and close:

Customised Debian on a distributable CD
I'd say that refractasnapshot is the best option for backing-up your installed Debian (Remastersys has gone).
Once you've set up and configured your apps and desktop to your liking, you can then make an ISO from the whole file system which can then be installed onto another machine, with a result that looks and works the same as your original system.
See my System Backup page

You could also build your own custom Debian Live CD, pulling all the app's you need with apt-get and building them into a file system that is made into an ISO for burning to a USB stick and then can be installed on any machine?  To do this there is the choice of Simple CCD and Live Helper -the latter of which I've had success with.  But you'll need plenty of time to learn how to use them.
See my Remote Install page

Configuring things (setting up the LXDE or Openbox Desktop)

david quinton,
Aug 10, 2014, 12:10 AM
david quinton,
Oct 17, 2013, 8:23 PM